Dogged by guilt no more: Or, how I finally lost my Black Cat Bone blues

Do you guys smell something burning? (Pic: Melody C)


When it comes to local blues band Black Cat Bone, long has the guilt weighed upon my shoulders like a concrete block on a ripe banana or a full bottle of bourbon on the wilting bloom of a rose or a really big bus on a little white bunny. In sum, like something on top of something else that is comparatively much lighter. Like an asteroid on a choco-pie.

Why? Because about three years ago, I worked for a company that hired Black Cat Bone to play at an outdoor event. The weather was horrible. It pissed more than a 300-foot-tall Mongolian war horse, blew with the power of 1.3 billion flapping hand fans, and was wetter than–if they existed, that is– a really, really, really big Yangtze river dolphin (think Moby Dick times ten).

We used beer umbrellas to try and cover the band as well as the cords winding through puddles on the stage. And I stood beside the fearsome five, in an act of solidarity, figuring that if Black Cat Bone were to get electrocuted and stage-yanked to that Big Concert in the Sky, then I would drive the band’s otherworldly bus. Even though we made it through with nary a shock, let alone the beard of lead singer Des McGarry catching fire or even smoking, I went home with one thought in my head. That I was responsible. For. Their. Worst. Gig. Ever.

And. I. Felt. Bad. About. It.

Badder than the morning after doing all-you-can-eat curry buffets for lunch and dinner and washing them down with three pots of coffee spiked with baijiu. Badder than having to floss your teeth with a taxi driver’s week-old unwashed thong and then brush them with his sweaty socks. Badder than if I had guzzled two liters of just-past-the-due-date chicken gizzards steeped in tepid Houhai water. I felt that bad. Plus guilty.

Until a couple of weeks ago.

Black Cat Bone played at the new Club Gaga. Right near BabyFace and those other clubs on Workers Stadium West. One of those club with a rainbow of flashing lights that feel like a cross between Tron, a giant pinball machine, and a kaleidoscope, where you can play “how many fruit plates can you spy with your little eye” from dozens of angles, the Chivas and green tea flows like milk and honey, and–I kid you not–the staff gave out lit sparklers. (Forget getting electrocuted, we could burn to death.) Some patrons waiting for the traditional top-40 mash-ups looked dumbfounded. Others looked bored. And two of them responded to blues music by putting their fingers in their ears.

I tried to think of an equivalent: Taylor Swift playing Coco Banana, or Courtney Love playing Sequoia Cafe, or Kanye West playing Mao Mao Chong, or Zamfir playing Kai Club?

Whatever. The important thing is that after nearly three years a weight has been lifted from my shoulders because this had to be: The. New. Worst. Gig. Ever. And now I am off the hook…

(And I still enjoyed the show.)


See also:

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6 thoughts on “Dogged by guilt no more: Or, how I finally lost my Black Cat Bone blues”

  1. BCB are l-e-g-e-n-d and this booking only confirms it. I wonder what they thought when they walked in: Was it a “this place is a #$%^*&^ barn and we’ll never fill it?” Brings back momories of a retirement home wedding gig I did once.

  2. A band’s not a band in Beijing until they’ve performed such a rite of passage. It’s nothing to be a ashamed of.

  3. The Kill Kennys (rock covers) once played Salsa Caribe. Apparently the management shut off the sound system after about 3-4 songs.

  4. “floss your teeth with a taxi driver’s week-old unwashed thong” Brilliant. It’s the reason why I come to this site though I’m never up north.

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